Baby Eczema: The Ten Things Every Parent Should Know
It can be disconcerting to discover that your child has baby eczema, but this skin condition is actually more common than you might suspect. Atopic dermatitis, as itâs clinically known, affects over 13% of all children under the age of 18 in the United States and typically first appears between the ages of six months and five years. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatricians reports that 65% of children with baby eczema develop symptoms before the age of one.Given how common baby eczema is and how early on it can affect your child, letâs get you all the information you need so youâre prepared to recognize and manage it.Weâll go over:
- Doctor Supervision
When Will Eczema First Appear
The first signs of atopic-prone skin can appear at birth. Dry, even scaly, patches of skin can indicate that your baby may be suffering from an eczema flare-up.
Those flare-ups usually begin to occur when your baby is two months old, although they can appear even earlier. Flare-ups are nothing to get worked up or worried about. They will not cause any lasting damage to your babys skin unless they are left untreated and get infected.
From two months to one year of age, flare-ups will mostly appear on the chubby areas of your babys body, such as their:
Keep in mind that stress can also set off an eczema flare-up. So even if you treat your babys skin daily and havent seen an outbreak in months, when they start teething around six months, a flare-up may appear despite your best efforts.
This, in itself, is nothing to worry about. It doesnt mean that the condition has worsened or that you did something wrong. It merely means that the stress of teething caused an extreme reaction on your little ones skin. Keep up the treatment as we outline below, and when that initial teething pain goes away, so too will their eczema flare-up.
After the age of one, eczema may appear less on the chubby areas of your babys skin and more on the skin folds, such as elbows, neck, back of the knees, wrists, and even behind the ears .
Even after the symptoms disappear, continue to treat your child just like you did before to minimize flare-ups from occurring.
What Caused My Babys Eczema
There is no single cause of atopic eczema. Eczema is a complex condition it is genetic but also involves an overactive immune response to environmental factors, which cause eczema flares. Because the atopic gene is hereditary, it runs in families, and is responsible for three conditions: eczema, asthma and hay fever.
Fifty per cent of people with eczema have an additional genetic element a difference in a skin protein called filaggrin which leads to further problems in the skin barrier. All atopic conditions can be linked to allergies in some people, but there are also many universal irritants, such as soap and heat.
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Give Your Baby A Soothing Bath
Bath time can soothe your babys eczema and reduce itching if you do it right! Start with bathwater thats not too hot and not too cold. If you have a bath thermometer, shoot for somewhere between 97 and 98.6 degrees.
Then add a bath oil to the water like Mustelas Stelatopia Bath Oil, which is specially formulated with sunflower oil, avocado oil, and chamomile extract to soothe, strengthen and soften the skin. Its fragrance-free and great to use every day or during an eczema flare-up.
Finally, dont leave your little one in the bath for too long. As much fun as bath time can be, a long bath can dry out their skin, which is not what you want! When you get your baby out, youll want to apply a calming lotion right away, which brings us to our next point.
Does Eczema Really Go Away Did Your Baby Outgrow Eczema
If you Google about children outgrowing eczema, many authority websites will indeed state that children outgrow atopic dermatitis . Some say that by age of 4-5 years old children outgrow eczema. Others say by the age of 3. There may be occasional flareups and then it may resume again during puberty due to hormones and stress.
About half of those with eczema develop symptoms before they are 1 year old. Almost all children develop symptoms by age of 5 years old. About ¾ of children with eczema will have symptoms resolve before puberty. The rest will go on to have eczema as adults or eczema may come back suddenly.
Another paper states that atopic dermatitis persists in children who develop it during ages 2 to 5 years old. It can resolve by age 10 in 80% of children with eczema and by age 20 in up to 95% of afflicted people.
In other words, there is a very good chance your child will outgrow their eczema or eczema will go away with time.
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What Vitamin Deficiency Causes Eczema
Not getting enough vitamin A may be to blame for the development of eczema and other skin problems . Eczema is a condition that causes dry, itchy and inflamed skin. Several clinical studies have shown alitretinoin, a prescription medication with vitamin A activity, to be effective in treating eczema .
What Causes Eczema In Toddlers
Before you panic that your child will have lifelong bouts of itchy rashes, its important to remember that some kids are just prone to eczema because of their unique skin makeup. And even thats not always fixed or permanent.
Theres no way to predict what will happen in the future, but lots of kids outgrow their eczema when they reach their preschool years.
Your child is more likely to have eczema if they also have:
- a family history of eczema
Food allergies dont cause eczema, but they are related.
For the most part, though, environmental triggers are the biggest cause of eczema flares. Common triggers include:
- excessive heat or sweating
Although eczema is bothersome and often hard to treat, you can take some steps to get your toddlers eczema under control.
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Diagnosing Food Allergy And Eczema Flare
- Your child’s doctor may suggest the steps listed below:
- Remove the suspected food or foods from your child’s diet for 2 weeks. The eczema should greatly improve.
- Then give your child that food when the eczema is under good control. This is called a “challenge.”
- If the food is causing flare-ups, the eczema should become itchy and red. The flare-up should occur quickly within 2 hours of eating the food.
- If this occurs, avoid giving this food to your child. Talk to your child’s doctor about the need for any food substitutes.
- If the eczema does not flare-up, your child isn’t allergic to that food.
Wash Clothes To Prevent Eczema
To care for and prevent baby eczema, reduce allergens and irritants when you do laundry. To do so, use a hypoallergenic laundry detergent and consider putting clothes through an extra rinse cycle in the washing machine to rinse off any residual allergens.
After, dry your babys clothes inside. As nice as it is to let onesies and tiny pants dry in the sun and breeze, allergens from the great outdoors could get on your babys clothes and then irritate their skin.
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Inspect Your Childs Environment For Triggers
Common environmental triggers include dust, rough fabrics, and even high temperatures that can irritate your childs skin, leading to a flare-up. To prevent these itchy, red breakouts, inspect your childs environment and remove or prevent contact with:
- Tight or rough clothing
For further flare-up protection, pat your childs skin dry with a soft towel and then apply an emollient cream immediately after bath time.
What Causes Baby Eczema
A combination of genetic and environmental factors causes baby eczema. These factors include:
- Skin irritants and allergens: Several things in your babys environment can bother your childs skin. If your child has an allergy, symptoms of eczema can flare up on their skin. Common environmental irritants and allergens include fabrics, soaps and certain foods.
- Immune system reaction: Your babys immune system defends against foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses that can make your child sick. If your baby has eczema, their immune system can overreact and confuse healthy skin cells and small irritants in your babys environment as a foreign invader. As a result, your babys immune system will attack your babys skin cells which can cause symptoms of eczema.
- Genetics: During conception, the egg and sperm cells meet to give your child the building blocks of their body, which are their genes. Sometimes, changes to your babys DNA happen , which can affect how your babys body functions and develops. An eczema diagnosis could cause a lack of proteins in your babys body that are responsible for maintaining their skins protective barrier. If your childs protective barrier in their skin isnt working as expected, they could experience symptoms of eczema.
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When Should My Baby Go To The Doctor For Eczema Treatment
If your baby has symptoms of eczema and at-home treatments have not helped, make an appointment with your pediatrician.
If your baby’s eczema is crusty, oozing fluid, or if your baby is showing any other signs of infection , call your pediatrician right away. Eczema rashes can become infected and may require antibiotic treatment.
How Can I Help My Child Live With Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis has no cure. But it will usually get better or go away as your child gets older. There may be times when your child has few or no symptoms. And he or she may have times when symptoms get worse. This is called a flare-up. To help prevent flare-ups, make sure your child:
Stays away from triggers. Common triggers include irritants such as wool, soap, or chemicals. Other triggers include allergens such as eggs, dust mites, or pet dander. Stress is also a trigger.
Doesnt scratch the skin. Try to keep your child from scratching. It can cause symptoms to get worse. It can also cause infection.
Always has short fingernails. Trim or file your childs nails to keep them short and prevent scratching.
Takes baths or showers with warm, not hot, water. Air dry or gently dry the skin afterward.
Uses moisturizers. Put creams or ointments on after bathing.
Wears soft clothing. Dont dress your child in wool or other rough fabric.
Keeps cool. Try to keep your child as cool as possible. Getting hot and sweating can make him or her more uncomfortable.
Doesnt get the smallpox vaccine. Its not a common vaccine, but people with atopic dermatitis should not get the smallpox vaccine.
Talk with your child’s healthcare provider about other ways to help your childs skin condition.
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When To Seek Medical Advice
See a GP if you have symptoms of atopic eczema. They’ll usually be able to diagnose atopic eczema by looking at your skin and asking questions, such as:
- whether the rash is itchy and where it appears
- when the symptoms first began
- whether it comes and goes over time
- whether there’s a history of atopic eczema in your family
- whether you have any other conditions, such as allergies or asthma
- whether something in your diet or lifestyle may be contributing to your symptoms
Typically, to be diagnosed with atopic eczema you should have had an itchy skin condition in the last 12 months and 3 or more of the following:
- visibly irritated red skin in the creases of your skin such as the insides of your elbows or behind your knees at the time of examination by a health professional
- a history of skin irritation occurring in the same areas mentioned above
- generally dry skin in the last 12 months
- a history of asthma or hay fever children under 4 must have an immediate relative, such as a parent, brother or sister, who has 1 of these conditions
- the condition started before the age of 2
How Can Parents Help
Help prevent or treat eczema by keeping your child’s skin from getting dry or itchy and avoiding triggers that cause flare-ups. Try these suggestions:
- Kids should take short baths or showers in warm water. Use mild unscented soaps or non-soap cleansers and pat the skin dry before putting on cream or ointment. Teens should use unscented makeup and oil-free facial moisturizers.
- Ask your doctor if it’s OK to use oatmeal soaking products in the bath to help control itching.
- Kids should wear soft clothes that “breathe,” such as those made from cotton. Wool or polyester may be too harsh or irritating.
- Keep your child’s fingernails short to prevent skin damage from scratching. Try having your child wear comfortable, light gloves to bed if scratching at night is a problem.
- Kids should avoid becoming overheated, which can lead to flare-ups.
- Kids should drink plenty of water, which adds moisture to the skin.
- Get rid of known allergens in your household and help your child avoid others, like pollen, mold, and tobacco smoke.
- Stress can make eczema worse. Help your child find ways to deal with stress .
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What Causes Eczema In Infants And Children
Eczema is brought about by the complex interplay of a genetic predisposition and the childs environment. Many things from the climate to possible allergens can cause eczema to flare. We know that eczema tends to run in the families with a predisposition to other atopic diseases, such as food allergies, asthma and hay fever. Individuals with atopic dermatitis may lack certain proteins in the skin, which leads to greater sensitivity. Parents with eczema are more likely to have children with eczema. However, the exact way it passes from parents to children is still not known. Most children who have eczema will show signs of the condition in the first year of life. It tends to wax and wane in severity.
What Causes Eczema Flare
The main causes of child eczema flare-ups include:
- Too much bathing
Even though there are many factors that can lead to an eczema flare-up, treatment is simple and effective, regardless of what caused the reaction in the first place. Before we discuss the seven ways to treat and prevent child eczema flare-ups, lets find out a bit more about the condition itself.
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Will My Child Ever Outgrow Eczema
A common question amongst parents is: will my child ever outgrow eczema? The normality is that the severity of eczema can be outgrown and usually is. In most cases, dry skin will remain with the individual into adulthood. Other health-related issues tied to eczema such as asthma could also be something that follows into adulthood.
I personally feel like Ive outgrown eczema, but I still have tons of eczema like symptoms I deal with. As a child, my eczema was extremely bad and most of the time not tolerable. I noticed as my teenage years came that my eczema got better. I think based on research and my own experiences many eczema sufferers will outgrow the extreme side of things but may never be able to get rid of it completely. The key is to keep a consistent treatment routine, and it all starts when you are a child.
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When Should I Be Concerned
It’s a good idea to see your doctor or a dermatologist if your baby still has a rash and itching even after you moisturize the skin. This is the first step in taking care of eczema.
Sometimes eczema isn’t serious and will improve with just moisturizing alone. If a rash stays despite moisturizing, medicines may be needed to help with inflammation of the skin.
Also, if you’re concerned your child may have a skin infection or if the itching is causing problems with sleep or daily life, it’s time to get a doctor’s help.
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What Triggers My Childs Eczema Or Causes It To Get Worse
Some of the most common eczema triggers include:
Even your babys stuffed animals may be a trigger for eczema
- Allergens such as pet dander, pollen or dust
Your childs eczema may be worse in the winter when the air is dry. Saliva from drooling can also cause irritation on your babys cheeks, chin and neck.
The best way to manage your childs eczema is by getting to know their symptoms and triggers so that you can help keep it under control.
Does Baby Eczema Go Away
Dr. Kiran: Eczema is a chronic condition that is characterised by periods of flare ups and periods of healthy skin. Whether it will ever go away depends on many things like family history, or whether you have concurrent illnesses such as asthma or food allergies.
Whilst many children grow out of eczema 50% will by age 7 its important to remember that there is no cure, and so treatment aims to control rather than cure the eczema. If your baby has eczema at an early age, their skin may remain sensitive even if the eczema doesnt recur in childhood.
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